Introduction: Nixie Tube Clock Case

Picture of Nixie Tube Clock Case

This is my first Instructable. I am Brazilian and English is not my mother language, so I hope you can understand my strange English.

I am electrical engineer and a compulsive maker. I love old tube valves, and when I saw on the web one Nixie clock…. I said “I need to build one”.

After a long search, I found here in the Instructables, one Nixie clock project very well detailed by Andrea Biffi.

As his post is amazing, I will not enter in details in how I construct the circuit and etc. I just followed his incredible post.

What I will show here is how I constructed the case for my Nixie Clock.

Step 1: Build One Nixie Clock

First, thank you Andrea Biffi for your patience answering all my questions!!!

You can start building your own nixie clock here:

Step 2: The Case

Picture of The Case

I decided to transform a remote control organizer in my nixie case. After a long search for a proper organizer, I found one in wood in the exact size I was looking for.

Step 3: Removing the Internals

Picture of Removing the Internals

The case was perfect. Natural wood without any finishing.

The first step was remove all the wood pieces inside the case. To do this part I used a simple hammer. Be careful to not apply more force than necessary.

To remove the nails I used a cut pliers.

Step 4: Template

Picture of Template

I decided to not use any light dot between the valves. Even if I decided to use, I could not due the size the box I was using.

In this project I used nixie IN-4 tubes. I measured the diameter of the tube and with the correct value, I could calculate the correct space between the 6 tubes (hh-mm-ss).

When satisfied with the layout, just transfer it to the case.

Step 5: To Drill

Picture of To Drill

This was the most critical phase in my project. I noticed that the wood used in the case was not solid. Is something like a agglomerated wood, covered with sheet of wood (not sure if plywood is the correct name).

I used a normal electric hand drill to open the holes. I used one flat wood bit (25 mm) to open the holes. I had a good luck, because the bit did not damage the surface of the wood.

I was planning to glue the tubes to hold it in the wood, but I had a great idea and I decided to test to see if it would work. To use one O ring rubber seal to hold the tubes.

Using my Dremel and a cutter bit (dremel bit #114) I dig a channel to install the O ring and hold it in place.

Patience is the most important tool in this process!

With the O ring installed, was necessary just to apply a little force to install the tube. It worked very well!!!

You will need to find the correct size to your tube. The tip here is to use one o ring that hold the tube without any clearance.

Note: in the pictures you can notice that I applied some finishing in the wood. I just applied shoe wax polish (brown) in the box and polished with a horsehair brush (or any kind of brush).

Step 6: The Soul of This Project

Picture of The Soul of This Project

Before to install the electronics inside, I tested the tubes to see if everything was working perfectly.

In the original project Andrea fixed the tubes in a PCB. I had several problems with my tube's PCB, so I decided to wire the tubes one by one, eliminating one PCB (the tube PCB is a nightmare).

By doing it I saved time and had no more headaches 8 ) .

Step 7: More Holes

Picture of More Holes

To make the adjustment easier, I didn't weld the on-off switch and the set buttons on the PCB. I installed them in the box and wired it in the PCB.

Step 8: Installing the Electronics

Picture of Installing the Electronics

In this phase I just installed the main PCB inside the box, using a bolt to fix it in the wood.

After I installed the tubes in the correct position. Just pay attention to not change the order of the tubes (hh -mm -ss).

To protect the internals I cut a piece of plastic and I did some holes to help with the ventilation. I fixed it with some screws.

And Voilà!!!!

Step 9: The Clock

Picture of The Clock

And this is the final result.

I hope you liked my project so far!

Thank You


seamster (author)2016-04-06

This looks good! Nice work on the case, and congrats on sharing your first instructable! :)

leomiranda (author)seamster2017-04-05

Thank you

WhiteClockCompany (author)2016-04-09

lovely, great job :)


andrea biffi (author)2016-04-07

oh my gosh that's so nice! I'm so happy you completed it!

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